Though the Lifeline program which provides phones to the poor free of charge has been around since 1985, the program has tripled in size in the past 4 years. One of the greatest corporate beneficiaries of the Lifeline program has been TracFone which gets nearly a quarter of the $2.2 billion in taxpayer dollars allocated. TracFone is owned by Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world.
“It’s not fair that people save and work and pay for phones from whatever funds they have, and other people get them for free,” Representative Tim Griffin, an Arkansas Republican who wants to eliminate the mobile subsidy, said in an interview. “It’s not fair the biggest beneficiary of this is Carlos Slim, the billionaire owner of TracFone.”